Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poor Little Historian Uninformed At Last

Was it access or just the inability to do the work?

We had to wonder. A reader e-mailed a link to a post by Historiann (Ann M. Little) swearing that we would love it.

If their hadn't been an update, we might have like it. "Sexism at The Nation? Surely not!" went up March 22nd. In it, she held Katha Pollitt accountable.


All it took was one comment from Katha and Historiann was slobbering:

See Pollitt’s responses in the comments below, in which she reminds me of the columns and blog posts she wrote about the sexism displayed during the 2008 Democratic Primary. It was hyperbolic and unfair of me to wonder if she had “sle[pt] through” the primary, because she wrote about the coverage of Clinton and was particularly critical of the sexism on the left and in the pages of The Nation. I appreciate that she took the time to correct me and to engage in the conversation below.

Actually, Historiann was correct the first time and wrong in the update and she apparently doesn't read before doing updates because one of the most damaging pieces -- self-damaging -- which Katha wrote was provided by Katha in the links in her comment.

First off, it's good to know Katha's no longer depending upon her friend to e-mail sites and ask them to change things written about her. But Katha lied in 2008 and whored for Barack. Dropping back to 2008, from "Editorial: Raw emotions (Ava and C.I.):"

Now maybe everyone's decided to take Katha Pollitt's stated oath which she revealed when she felt 'forced' to call out Tom Hayden's latest sexism last April: "I want to do my bit for Obama, so I vowed I would give up attacking Obama-supporting progressives for the duration of the presidential campaign." Guess what, Katha, we don't do our "bit for" feminism by staying silent. That was in April that she broke (and announced) her vow -- one she's gone back to. So, basically, at the start of the year, Pollitt's admitting, she decided to let sexist attacks from Barack's campaign and his supporters slide until after the election. Wow.

Historiann had asked, "Only, did you sleep through all of the coverage your rag and its contributors provided of the 2008 Democratic primary?" No, she didn't sleep through it. She endorsed Barack in February and then refused to call out sexism until April.

Historiann missed it. She missed a whole hell of a lot. Here's Katha's (first) comment left on Historian's post:

  1. Actually, I wrote many times about sexism against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign, including sexism on the left and at The Nation. A sample

    See also “Dowd versus Clinton, chapter 3465” here

    My longest piece on anti- Hillary misogyny was “Hillary Rotten” in
    “Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary” ed. Susan Morrison (2008), a shortened version of which appeared in Elle: .

Reading may be fundamnetal but it's apparently difficult for Historiann. She'd asked about 2008. Katha responded with weasel words ("2008 campaign"). All these glorious links? How many are from 2007? Three. Only five of her links are during 2008.

The Tom Hayden one is from 2008 and we've already dealt with it. The Nader one?

Read Katha's post. It's not a defense of Hillary. Nader said something about Hillary (apparently that she shouldn't drop out) and Katha rips into Nader and attacks him and conveys that if Hillary should follow Ralph Nader's advice, Hillary will be a destructive force. In other words, while claiming otherwise, the column (from March 2008, months before the primaries ended) is calling for Hillary to drop out of the race.

That's five of her eight links that we're disallowing.

"Iron my skirt"? Where Hillary's likened to a "bitch" in the first paragraph and where Katha advises readers, in the second paragraph, "love her or loathe her . . ." That's a defense of Hillary against the sexist attacks?

No, it's not.

We also question the crap that is "The Weepy Witch & the Secret Muslim," especially for this part:

I've written many times about sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton as an old, ugly, castrating witch-and-what-rhymes-with-it, but Gloria Steinem's New York Times op-ed in defense of her, "Women Are Never the Front-Runners," was not helpful, to put it mildly. "Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life," Steinem wrote. "Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter)." Yes, black men got the vote first, although they could be lynched for using it. Shirley Chisholm, the black Congresswoman who ran for President in 1972, did famously write, "Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black."

It's cute that she calls out Gloria while she admits she bit on her tongue for months about men before Tom Hayden 'made her scream'. But we're calling her out on that because of her comments elsewhere on Gloria's column. See, Katha likes to embelish. The above is from February. By March 2008, she was telling The Los Angeles Times:

"Even if it were true that white women were more oppressed than black men" -- as Steinem suggested -- "that still doesn't mean you should vote for Hillary Clinton," Pollitt said. "It might mean you should fight for better enforcement of anti-sex-discrimination rules, but it doesn't mean you should vote for the candidate most likely to wage a war. "

Gloria Steinem never said "white women." Gloria Steinem about all women. But that became the talking point launched by a thousand-and-one liars (including Lie Face Melissa Harris-Lacewell).

Historiann needs to answer as to whether she didn't do the work required or if she was seduced by access.

She might also consider that one of Katha's favorite topics is to write about The New York Times and how it has more male columnists than it does female ones. Katha has never publicly called out her own publication. However, we did a year long study of the bylines in 2007 and published "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?" -- answer: 149.

Historiann asked if Katha had slept through the Democratic Party primary? That primary was from January 3rd through June 3rd. The first 'primary' (caucus) was held in Iowa, the last primaries were held in South Dakota and Montana. That's the period Katha would need to be weighing in. She slimed Hillary, she distorted Gloria Steinem's column (repeatedly, we can provide other examples). Instead of rushing to apologize to Katha, Historiann should have shown some backbone and, yes, self-respect. She was right when she made her first call and she shouldn't have backed down.

And she should have been challenged about the sexist attacks on Sarah Palin as well. Refer to "Katha Pollitt Journolist" and you'll find us contrasting what Pollitt wrote publicly about Palin at The Nation:

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

versus what Palin wrote privately on Journolist:

Unfortunately, palin is kind of cool. she's not a brittle pastel- suited nut, like some of the eagle forum types. if she weren't in politics, we would probably really like her.

Nation readers never got that from Katha. Why not?

"We can’t be passive. she won’t destroy herself" is how Katha urged on the attacks on Palin.

We're trying to be kind to Katha these days. But we will not -- now or ever -- allow those who embraced or aided sexism in 2008 to rewrite history.
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